13 delicious afternoon teas to try in Somerset

(c) Jelleke Vannootegham / Unsplash

(c) Jelleke Vannootegham / Unsplash - Credit: Archant

Somerset is home to some of the best cream teas and afternoon teas in the country so indulge in a tier of sandwiches, scones and cakes at one of these charming spots to enjoy the quintessential English treat. In no particular order, we pick 14 of our favourites in the county.

Do remember to check ahead of your visit as some locations will have restrictions in place to keep you safe and need you to book in advance.

1. The Oakhouse Hotel, Axbridge 

This small hotel and restaurant lies in Axbridge at the foot of the Mendip Hills. Parts of the Oakhouse date back to the 11th century, with features including an ancient well and a large inglenook fire in the residents' bar.

Try a traditional cream tea with homemade scones with Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, or perhaps try the Oakhouse Afternoon Tea which includes finger sandwiches, homemade scones and a trio of sweets. You can even add a bottle of Prosecco for a special treat!

2. Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

Positioned on one of the most photographed streets in Somerset, the Royal Crescent Hotel has carefully respected its grand Georgian architecture with sympathetic modern, and luxury, interiors. An afternoon tea taken in The Dower House Restaurant or, when the weather permits, in the pretty gardens, is a wonderfully indulgent way to relax after exploring the city.

An ideal alternative for those who usually favour a starter rather than a dessert, the savoury afternoon tea comprises tiers of delicate finger sandwiches, smoked salmon toast and caviar, honey and onion seed glazed sausage roll, Bath Chap with Mustard Mayonnaise, of course, the classic warm scones and clotted cream too.

3. Dorothy's Tea Room, Hinton St George

Counting TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp as one of its biggest fans, Dorothy's Tea Room in Hinton St George has a very large, and loyal, following. The tea room was also awarded 'Best Afternoon Tea Shop in the UK' in the Clipper Teas' Tea Shop Awards in 2017.

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As soon as you walk through the door, Zsofi and the team ensure you're made to feel welcome, whether you're ordering a quick coffee and slice of homemade cake or leisurely lunch. The afternoon tea is a truly decadent affair (without the price tag): hot drinks are served in dainty, vintage tea cups alongside a selection of sandwiches, a mini quiche, homemade cakes and a scone with clotted cream and jam. Gluten free options are available too. 

4. Mr Miles Tea Rooms, Taunton

'A hark back to the traditional English tea rooms where time was spent enjoying a good cup of tea and slice of cake' was just one of the reasons the tea rooms was highly commended in the 'Best Independent Tea / Coffee Shop of the Year' in the Somerset Life Food & Drink Awards 2017.

Positioned on Taunton's busy high street, Mr Miles Tea Rooms has been a firm favourite with the town's residents and visitors alike since it opened its doors in 2010. There's something to suit all tastes on the extensive menu - and a fantastic choice of afternoon teas are available to enjoy all day.

5. The Castle at Taunton

With an impressive wisteria-clad frontage, The Castle at Taunton sympathetically combines its historic heritage with comfortable bedrooms, a popular restaurant and all the essential modern amenities.

The Castle Traditional Afternoon Tea is comprised of the treats you would expect: tasty finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and pastries baked by the in-house Patisserie. A glass of champers can also be added if you're celebrating (or just fancy some fizz!).

6. The Blitz Tearoom, Weston-Super-Mare

Paying tribute to England's war-time period, The Blitz Tearoom is a nostalgic throwback to 1940s with Union Jack bunting, vintage memorabilia, crochet tablecloths and woollen tea cosies. The service is friendly and the menu - or ration book - is filled with breakfasts, lunches and homemade cakes.

When it comes to afternoon tea you have the choice between two well-known figureheads of the Second World War. If you prefer a more traditional afternoon tea with scones and cakes opt for the Vera Lynn. If scones with cream cheese and chutney, pork pies and a slice of homemade quiche is the perfect choice for your savoury tastes, try the Winston Churchill. Sweet and savoury cream teas are also available.

7. Sally Lunn's Eating House, Bath

Loved by locals and tourists alike, the 'oldest house in Bath' is always packed with diners, however, the personable, efficient service of the staff means that you never have to wait too long for a table.

She's known across the country for the famous, and original, 'Bunn', and on a visit to Sally Lunn's you can't go without trying the generously sized brioche-like delicacy. Try the Sally Lunn two course High Tea; a round of Sally Lunn Bunn served with smoked salmon followed by a Sally Lunn Cream Tea alongside a pot of tea.

8. Abbey Tearooms, Glastonbury

Overlooking Glastonbury Abbey, Abbey Tea Rooms offers guests a traditional tea experience with linen tablecloths among fresh flowers and pretty china.

Afternoon tea is a decadent affair: homemade scones with clotted cream and a selection of jams, cucumber sandwiches and a wedge of fluffy Victoria sponge all washed down with tea. Tea enthusiasts can choose from twelve different teas and herbal infusions.

9. Periwinkle Tea Rooms, Selworthy Green

The picture-book Periwinkle Tea Room, situated on the National Trust's Holnicote Estate at Selworthy Green, boasts views of Exmoor and it's dog-friendly to boot (ideal after those long dog walks in the stunning Exmoor countryside).

Take a seat inside or, on a warmer day, in the tea room's pretty gardens, and browse a menu of fuss-free, homemade dishes that will fill you up and leave you with a smile. We recommend the cream tea: freshly baked scones with plenty of clotted cream and a choice of whortleberry, raspberry or chuckleberry jam and a pot of tea.

10. Lion Rock Tea Rooms, Cheddar

Crowned the winner of 'Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year' at the Somerset Life Food & Drink Awards 2018, the Lion Rock Tea Rooms has been satisfying diner's hunger pangs for over 100 years. Nestled below Lion Rock in Cheddar, the vintage-inspired tea rooms serve an extensive menu of breakfast, lunches, cream and afternoon teas, and also Sunday lunches.

There are plenty of afternoon teas to try, from the rather sumptuous strawberry cream tea to the latest addition of 'The gin & tea', a traditional afternoon tea served with a large glass of fruited or classic gin served over ice with tonic.

11. Odette's Tearoom, Wellington

A finalist in Somerset Life's 'Best Tearoom/Coffee Shop' of 2016, Odette Tearoom in Wellington has been described by our readers as a 'true gem', no doubt due to its delicious selection of homemade cakes and freshly made sandwiches.

Settle in the tearoom, bursting with rustic Somerset charm and a touch of French chic, and tuck into one of the many cream teas on offer. Chocolate lovers should definitely try the Chocoholics cream tea; two scones served with chocolate and hazelnut spread alongside a warming hot chocolate.

12. Hestercombe House and Gardens

After exploring the historic country house, and stunning surrounding gardens, take a seat in Hestercombe's Column Rooms, which boast attractive, panoramic views across the garden.

Relax and soak in the pretty scenery with an afternoon tea. You can choose from the traditional tasty affair accompanied with loose leaf tea or cafetiere coffee, or for added luxury perhaps try a Champagne Afternoon Tea - cheers to that!

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13. Kitnors Tearooms and Gardens, Bossington

Like something out of a story book, Kitnors Tearooms is housed in a gorgeous, thatched National Trust 15th century cottage in the pretty village of Bossington, between Porlock and Minehead. A salvation after a long walk in the Exmoor countryside or along the coastline, the tea room prides itself on serving hungry diners delicious homemade fare alongside a cracking cup of tea or coffee.

If you're planning a visit to Kitnors in advance, we recommend booking a High Tea. A tiered cake stand presents a beautiful display of sandwiches, savoury treats, cakes and scones, completed with clotted cream and jam.